South Africa

Academic staff at Unisa not happy with the call to come back to work by Vice Chancellor

Professor Puleng LenkaBula

The Academic and Professional Staff Association (APSA) said the University of South Africa (Unisa) was being unreasonable for asking academic staff to work from the office.

APSA said it would be meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University to express its discontent at an internal memo indicating that academic staff should come back to work.

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Working from home more productive?

APSA National Organiser Katlego Marema said Unisa lecturers said they were more effective when working from home.

“The lectures said they can do more when actually working from home because there is no difference when they go to work because Unisa is long distance learning,” Marema said.

According to Marema the Covid-19 period had proved that working from home was possible and could be just as effective as working from the office.

“Maybe the VC has other reasons but this is something that has been done before and we can say that the staff said they are just as effective working from home,” she said.

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Academic staff walking in malls

Unisa Vice Chancellor Puleng Lenkabula has been quoted in different platforms saying that Unisa students can be left to complain about service delivery while academic staff can be found in different malls around the country instead of responding to students.

Lenkabula said working from home was not something to be proud of.

The institution has more than 400 000 students from many parts of the world, not just from South Africa. It is the largest distance learning university on the continent. It has also been on the spotlight for poor administration reasons which has cast aspersions on the quality of degrees it offers.

Marema said the call to come back to the office had been made last week Friday. She said the union would engage university management this week on behalf of the academic staff.

The Citizen contacted Unisa spokesperson Tommy Huma for comment on the matter.

However, Huma said the matter had arisen out of an internal memo and that there would be no media statement on it.